This post first appeared in the AllBusiness
Do you have an employee wellness program in place but your employee participation is lacking?
It’s likely that your wellness program is failing because you haven’t followed the four C’s of employee wellness success: Committee, Champion, Chief Support, and Communication. Following the four C’s is crucial to driving sustainable employee wellness engagement and delivering benefits like better employee health, increased productivity and satisfaction, and lower medical expenses.
With these four strategies, any business can put their wellness program on a path to success.
You need a wellness committee. A wellness committee is a group of employees who are involved in assessing your company’s wellness needs, evaluating wellness vendors, determining a wellness strategy, and helping to execute that strategy. A wellness committee should consist of a diverse group of employees who will serve as representatives for the rest of your employees.
Give your employees a voice and leverage this committee for key wellness decisions. Developing wellness through group consensus will lead to a more successful program, better alignment with your employees’ preferences, and higher engagement.
Your wellness program needs a champion. The wellness champion is the person who is going to advocate for wellness within the walls of your company. This person believes that wellness is an essential component of company culture and is personally willing to devote time and effort to make the wellness program successful. Every organization has someone who believes in the importance of wellness and is motivated to help promote a culture of wellness. Leverage your champion’s passion, enthusiasm, and leadership to build a contagious culture of wellness.
The champion role often falls, sometimes reluctantly, on a human resources manager. The HR manager may be responsible for overseeing wellness programming and wellness strategies, but the role of internal champion doesn’t need to be restricted to the human resources department or to senior leadership. The right wellness champion will promote wellness out of pure passion and not because it’s a job responsibility.
Your company’s senior leadership must fully support and promote a culture of health and wellness. Senior leadership must embrace the spirit of the program and enable others to maximize their participation.
Employees must see that senior leadership views wellness as a high priority and a critical component of the company’s strategic vision. For example, company leaders can demonstrate their commitment to the program by hosting and encouraging walking meetings. Once senior leaders set the example, employees will feel more comfortable following their lead.
Senior leaders also can include wellness participation as a key performance indicator when reporting on the success of the company (e.g., quarterly bookings, profitability, etc.). This will clearly highlight the importance of wellness in a way that is visible to all employees.
If your employees aren’t aware of your program AND the benefits of wellness, they aren’t going to participate. You need to communicate about wellness early and often.
Before the program begins, employees should be aware of the benefits of wellness, the specifics of how the program works, and why your company is promoting wellness. Every employee is unique so using multiple modes of communication (emails, flyers in the kitchen, etc.) achieves the best results.
Wellness communication needs to occur frequently as there are employees who may want to start participating in the middle of the program or may have missed prior communications. Keeping communication frequent ensures that employee engagement remains high; the belief that engagement will lessen as a program matures is a myth, and the primary driver for this common occurrence is poor and infrequent communication after a wellness program has been launched.